Friday, April 06, 2012

New Adventures in the Rockies

Flew to Calgary Alberta and had a two week visit with my buddy Dave. He picked me up at the airport and we drove to his home in Canmore. Approximately, one and a quarter hour drive from the Calgary airport; Canmore is a beautiful town and can be described as the Gateway into Banff National Park.

 We had plans to drive out to his wilderness cabin in the Kootney’s of British Columbia a little later in the week. We had to keep an eye on the weather and my Buddy was coming down with a cold. In the meantime, to keep me amused Dave & Mary purchased me a ticket for a Helicopter tour to see the mountains from an amazing view point. And what an amazing view it is. The Rocky Mountains are some of the most photographed sites in the world but photographs do not do them justice. We flew up and around what is called the Three Sisters. I could look out my friend’s front window and view the Three Sisters but up close and top views were out of this world.
Didn’t know it at the time, but a week later a Helicopter from a competitor went down and the pilot was killed. 4 passengers survived.

We headed out to the cabin in BC at 4am in the morning four days later. Long range weather forecast looked good, Dave didn’t. His friend John from Texas was with us and he took over driving duties. John lives six months of the year in the US and 6 months in Canmore. Those, crazy winter skiers.
I must state that a weatherman’s job is one of the few jobs in the world where they can be wrong 100% of the time and keep their jobs. Politicians are the other, but I won’t go there.

Driving west towards Revelstoke, BC, the weather was slowly starting to deteriorate. Snow drifts were piled 20 to 30 feet along the highway as we drove through Rogers Pass high in the mountains. It was still dark so no photos.

South of Revelstoke we have to take a ferry to cross the Arrow Lake. It is a free service and continuation of the highway south. That is when the snow really started and it was getting light. We had two choices of taking highway left or right. We went left on BC 31 which is a little shorter but more rugged, Gravel vs. pavement.
Sound thinking! Gravel grips but pavement might just get plowed more. Both highways are in avalanche territory. By this time we had a couple of feet of snow on the road but we had four-wheel drive. Not a problem, just keep chewing those nails.

We made it to the logging road and started the descent into the boondocks of know man’s land ….only 27 kilometers to go. Oh my God! A virgin snow covered the Wilderness Road that was unmaintained with no tire tracks to follow. Drive off the edge and it may be a while before they scrape your body off the mountain floor below. John from Texas did an excellent job of driving, we made it without incident.

Once we shoveled our way into the cabin and got a fire going we were quite comfortable. Even had a hot tub to loosen up those stressed out nerve endings?
Fishing was slow, we did catch a few.

Dave wasn’t getting any better, he was coughing continuously non-stop through the nights; so we cut our trip short and headed back to civilization, especially, since the weatherman was spouting off bad weather comments. The trip out was much better after 5 days mild temps and some rain. When we reached the point of which highway to take back to the ferry; we chose the pavement and it did seem quite a bit longer.

Back in Canmore, and a visit to the Vet, It was determined that Dave had a lung infection. A few antibiotics later, and sucking up all the comforts of home and Mary’s great cooking, he was showing positive signs of living long enough to experience another day in the wild Rocky Mountains.
He was strong enough to brave a Gondola ride in Banff. Another fantastic trip above the trees and straight up the side of a mountain. The day we went it started out sunny but deteriorated to overcast foggy.

Regardless of weather, scenery is so fantastic it is worth the moment. If I was in Mary's shape; I would follow her into the mountains, hiking, skiing and all other outdoor sports. She is non stop energy. I wasn’t upset at catching so few fish; after all, Mary wasn’t there to fillet our catch.

How could I forget Scruffy the wonder dog, my Buddy, my Pal, my Bed-warmer. What a treat to have him with us on our journey into the back woods.
I have included many pictures below. Not everyone has high-speed and they can view the pictures at own speed if they so desire.
Pictures are in no particular order because the upload program sorted alphabetically.
Our first avalanche on the logging road.

Some one opened the road a week before

This is BC HWY 31 heading towards the cabin after the Ferry

My good friends Mary, Dave & wonder dog Scruffy

View from cabin deck

Riding the cable car into the mountains

View of Canmore from the Helicopter

Looking out the dining room window at the Three Sisters mountain

Doug's Bull Trout


Herd of Elk in town along the Trans Canada Hwy.

A view from Dave&Mary's front window

Helicopter panel

This is my ride, I had a front seat

John with a couple of trout

Helipad, coming in for a landing

Road into cabin, it is there somewhere

Poor man's TV, we were at least comfortable in the Boondocks

   It is always nice to read comments below, makes blogging worth while.